Monday, June 14, 2010

Caramel Tollhouse Pie and The Dharma Initiative


For someone who gets a fraction of the sleep she needs, I sure have a lot of dreams. I've spent the last week glued to my laptop; not writing, but watching LOST for the first time. The dream sequences remind me of another show I ended up hopelessly entangled in-- Twin Peaks. If you missed out on Twin Peaks, do yourself a favor and watch it. Right now. I'll wait. Come back when you're done.

Welcome back! Dreams are amazing; sometimes terrifying, sometimes beautiful. Mine are usually a mixture of both, probably due to my unabashed love of Stephen King. I'm a sucker for dreams. Martin Luther King had a dream. Stephenie Meyer had a dream which turned out to be Twilight. A seventeen year old me had a dream and I've held on to it for fifteen years. Don't do the math. I'll have to kill you.

So, anyway, my dream was about a group of kids who take a road trip to the mall in a neighboring county to sample the government's latest attack in the war on drugs. When marijuana is on the verge of legalization, some government lab rats invent a safe, mild hallucinogen they inject into curious teenagers at kiosks in malls. Ever been to See's? Little old ladies in white coats, right? Mine aren't passing out chocolates. These kids find a way to finagle a second dose of the drug, Redemption, and get separated in the maze of shops while lost in a haze of crazy hallucinations.

I tried to write the dream a hundred times, but it never came together. It took fifteen years, a new house, old notebooks, a tweet from an agent looking for YA from a male perspective to put it straight for me. I've got it now. I may be taking a brief hiatus to find out what the freaking crap is going on with The Dharma Initiative on Lost, but then it's right back to plugging away at REM.

My inspiration for this project is a dream, but most of my plot ideas are totally random "what if" musings.  The majority of my dreams would bore you to tears.  You won't be reading about me clutching the dashboard while my eleven year old in the driver's seat drives us down the sidewalk at 60 miles an hour. And you definitely won't read about my passionate love affair with President Obama.

Where does your inspiration come from?

If you're looking for inspiration, try Coconut Tollhouse Pie with Salted Caramel. Food for your muse.

Muse Food (a.k.a. Coconut Tollhouse Pie with Salted Caramel)

9" frozen deep dish pie crust (or use your favorite pie crust recipe)

Filling:
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 t vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut (a 6oz bag of frozen coconut is wonderful in this)

Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon sea salt (Fleur de Sel de Guerande, if you can get it)

Vanilla ice cream (optional, but oh so necessary)

For the pie; beat eggs until foamy; add flour and both sugars and beat until combined. Beat in butter and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut. Spread filling in crust and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for an hour, or until deep golden brown and set in the center.

For the sauce; place sugar in a saucepan with a heavy bottom and pour water evenly over the surface. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let the syrup boil, covered and undisturbed for three minutes. Remove lid and stir until dark golden amber in color. Beat in butter and stir in heavy cream. Remove from heat; add vanilla and salt. Let cool.

Serve pie with a big scoop of ice cream and a generous drizzle of caramel.